Update: The definition has been updated to include support for atoms, variables and function names as well as additional file extensions. Screen shot and downloadable content have been updated.

Thus far I’ve done all of my Erlang development on Fedora using vim or KWrite (which does a decent job in Ruby mode).

But today I found myself on a windows box and wanted a basic syntax highlighting editor for Erlang that was free and worked on Windows. Oh – and not Eclipse+Erlide. I wanted something small and fast.

I grabbed the “free as in beer” and “free as in speech” editor NotePad++ and created a simple syntax file that is a bit hokey but will serve my needs fine.

Here’s a screen shot …
Windows Erlang Syntax Highlighting Editor

NotePad++ has pretty weak syntax highlighting but was sufficent to do most of what I wanted. Some regex based rules would make this a more robust.

Highlighted entities include

  • Erlang reserved words (and named operators)
  • Variables
  • Atoms
  • function names (same coloring as atoms)
  • Operators
  • Comments
  • Kernal, stdlib, mnesia and odbc modules.
  • Support for *.erl, *.hrl and *.htp extentions

I’ve probably missed several things.

Looks a lot better than nothing and it took all of 10 15 minutes.

If you are using NotePad++ here is the file:


And here are the instructions on how to install it:


And here’s the instructions on modifying or creating your own:


Join the conversation! 15 Comments

  1. Thanks.. just what I had wanted.

  2. Just want to say thanks 🙂

  3. Awesome, was looking for a simple editor on my windows machine for erlang and this helped. Thanks!

  4. Good job and thanks a lot 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing these set of instructions, and the syntax file

  6. Great! I’ve used Notepad++ for a long time and have been looking for something like this. Very much appreciated.

  7. Thanks. Just moved my Erlang work to a windows box where I’m always using notepad++.

  8. Can you contact me over email, please ?


  9. There is an Erlang syntax file already here: http://notepad-plus.sourceforge.net/commun/userDefinedLang/userDefineLang_erlang.xml
    Author is either anonymous or desired to remain so.

    Please contact me if the file posted here is better, or if it helps improving yours.

    Support & Documenttion Mgr for Notepad++

  10. Just wanted to say thanks!

  11. Generally I don’t learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, very nice article.

  12. I think your version is more complete than the one on the notepad++ site. Did you start out with theirs and extend it? That being said, I haven’t gotten it to work yet. That comparison is just based on looking at both.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  14. […] has syntax highlighting for a lot of languages, but not for erlang. A quick Google search yielded this. It has all the steps required to get Notepad++ to highlight your erlang code in a pretty complete […]

  15. The code folding doesn’t work, It seems like a problem with np++.
    Nice work, I have copied it to github if you don’t mind, in order to add some modifications for OTP 19.

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